Electric snow bikes growing in popularity

Cruising on Moonbikes. | Moonbikes

The Prosser Reservoir OHV staging area in Truckee is surprisingly busy on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of a snowstorm. Or maybe it’s not surprising, considering this is the perfect environment for snowmobiling and other backcountry sports, including electric snow biking. Fortunately, the MoonBikes team was in town, introducing people to this new revolutionary wintertime sport. Considering I love mountain biking, snowmobiling, jet skiing and riding motorized bikes, this seemed right up my alley.

MoonBikes was founded by a former aeronautical space engineer named Nicolas Muron who created the world’s first 100 percent electric snow bike in a small village within the French Alps. A lover of the outdoors, he realized that there were many modes of transportation to get around in the summertime but options in the winter were limited. Therefore, using his skills in technology and design, he built the easy-to-store, easy-to-transport and environmentally friendly MoonBike. The sport has taken off in Europe and is now becoming more known in North America.

After going on a couple of snowmobile tours last year, I had so much fun that I considered buying one. But where would I put it? Eventually, I couldn’t justify the time, maintenance, cost and space it would take up.

I felt like I was racing on top of clouds or on water. It was exhilarating.

However, the introduction of MoonBikes has solved all those problems. The bike is small enough to load into my SUV and the company sells accessories such as bike racks to help transport them, as well. Instead of constantly checking the oil, transmission or taking it into a shop, you just plug the battery in to recharge it.

That day at Prosser about 10 people demoed the bikes.

“People try to ride it like a bike, but you have to take active turns like you would on skis,” said marketing operations manager Chris Davidson, explaining that one guy got stuck for 10 minutes but loved the fact that he could get himself out.

As Davidson was telling me this, one guy on a snowmobile was towing his buddy’s snowmobile out of the backcountry. How nice it would be to not have to deal with that.

“They’re pretty nimble,” Davidson said.

After that, Davidson and I ventured into the forest. It did take me a bit to get used to the throttle and keep control on the bumpy single track. I found it was much easier to maintain speed in the powder. It did seem squirrely and took a bit of getting used to but watching Davidson rip through the snow helped. It really did feel like learning how to ride a bike.

Davidson and I went off the beaten path for a bit and for a minute or so I felt like I was racing on top of clouds or on water. It was exhilarating. I even dumped the bike once but could easily pull myself out since it was so lightweight and manageable.

The MoonBike was super fun, completely silent and I barely used any of the battery. A battery lasts for 1.5 hours and you can fit two batteries in the seat of a bike, which is heated and insulated. When I got back to the staging area, Stealth Tahoe co-owner Aaron Vacek asked me what I thought of the MoonBike. He and Anthony Zingaro opened Stealth Tahoe in Truckee in 2016 and they pride themselves on carrying quality, electric, outdoor products. They are a partner of MoonBikes.

I loved the fact that it was quiet, manageable and needed little to no maintenance.

“The biggest thing you hear in city ordinances is regarding noise complaints and these make zero sound,” Vacek said, adding that when it snowed in November, he rode the MoonBike to vote.

“People can jump on these things and go, right out of their garage,” he said. | stealthtahoe.com